And Mnesimachus, in his Philip, on account of the immoderate indulgence in suppers of people of his time, introduces an entertainment which professes to be a preparation for war, and which really is what that admirable writer Xenophon calls a workshop of war. And he speaks thus—
Know you now with what men you must fight?And Phœnix the Colophonian says—
With us, who sup upon well-sharpen'd swords,
And swallow lighted firebrands for dainties:
And then, for our dessert, our slaves bring in,
After the first course, Cretan bows and arrows;
[p. 664] And, 'stead of vetches, broken heads of spears,
And fragments of well-batter'd shields and breastplates;
And at our feet lie slings, and stones, and bows,
And on our heads are wreaths of catapults.
A cask of wine shall be our sword-a cupAnd in the Parasite, Alexis, speaking of some very voracious person, says—
Shall be our spear-our hair shall arrows be;
Goblets shall be our enemies-wine our horses-
Ointments and perfumes our war-cry fierce.
And all the younger men do call him parasite,And Diphilus, in his Hercules, speaking of some similar kind of person, says—
Using a gentler name; but he cares not.
And Telephus in speechless silence sits,
Making but signs to those who ask him questions;
So that the inviter often offers prayers
To the great Samothracian gods o' the sea,
To cease their blowing, and to grant a calm;
For that young man's a storm to all his friends.
Do you not now behold me drunk and merry,On which account, Bion of the Borysthenes said, cleverly enough, that “A man ought not to derive his pleasures from the table, but from meditation;” and Euripides says—
Well fill'd with wine, and all inflamed with anger?
Have not I just devour'd a dozen cakes,
Every one larger than a good-sized shield?
I pleased my palate with a frugal meal;signifying that the pleasure derived from eating and drinking is chiefly limited to the mouth. And Aeschylus, in his Phineus, says—
And many a most deceitful meal they snatch'dAnd in his Sthenebœa, Euripides speaks of frugality thus—
Away from hungry jaws, in haste t' enjoy
The first delight of the too eager palate.
A life at sea is a much troubled life,
Not reinforced with pleasures of the table,
But like a stable on the shore. The sea itself
Is a moist mother, not a nurse on land;
'Tis her we plough; from this our food, procured
With nets and traps, comes daily home to us.